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What is family-based immigration?

Bringing family members into the United States from other countries means that you will have to go through the family immigration process. Family immigration is used to bring immediate family members into the country with a green card. In some cases, even family members who aren't classified as immediate family members can be eligible for family-based immigration.

Which relatives are eligible for family-based immigration?

Immediate family members, such as a spouse, children who aren't married and not yet 21 years old, and parents are eligible for an immediate visa number. Other relatives, including siblings, children who aren't married but over 21 years old, and married children are eligible to apply for family-based immigration.

What do non-immediate family members need if they are already in the U.S.?

Non-immediate family members will have to apply for a visa. They need a sponsor who is a citizen of the United States. The sponsor has to be a family member. The sponsor has to fill out Form I-130 and you will have to wait until the priority date to file for an adjustment of status.

What if the non-immediate family member isn't in the U.S.?

A family member who isn't in the U.S. would use a consular process to get a visa. The Form I-130 must still be completed since this is the application.

There are a variety of issues that can creep up when you or a family member apply for a visa. Knowing how to handle these can make the process a little easier. With this in mind, you should get answers to your questions as soon as possible to ensure that you handle requests properly.

Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, "Green Card for a Family Member of a U.S. Citizen," accessed May. 15, 2015

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